Buying a new home can be a largely nerve-wracking experience. Tim Martin not only understands that but prioritizes actions to help ease those feelings with his clients. He believes his role as an educator is just as important, if not more, than his role as a salesperson.
“I try to remember what it was like buying my first home; there’s anxiety and excitement. It’s usually accompanied by another experience, whether it’s a new job or a growing family. Sometimes, it’s downsizing or a divorce, and it may not always be positive. There’s usually a transition that’s going on spurring the move,” said Martin.
Martin works on the principle that clients are turning to their mortgage brokers for help and guidance. While the best deal and rates are important, taking the extra time to educate people on their options and anticipating their questions and concerns is the biggest part of the job.
“The more a client understands what is available to them, and the reasons you recommend one thing over another, the more comfortable they will be. If I can relieve even a little bit of their anxiety, then I’m doing my job,” he said.
Martin is now the VP of mortgage lending at Guaranteed Rate Affinity, which launched in 2017. He’s been in the mortgage business for almost two decades and kept within the same family of companies since then. Finding an organization that’s a great fit and flourishing within that organization is something that he stands by. “Bouncing around might offer some opportunity, but there are disadvantages that comes with that, whether it’s learning new systems or not having those long-built relationships with management.” These relationships are the biggest advantage of having that longevity, he added.
Most of his business is largely focused in Connecticut, so not only are relationships tight within Guaranteed Rate Affinity, but with realtor partners and clients as well. Martin said it’s hard not to be passionate when you’re working in your own backyard.
“Not only do I get to work side-by-side with real estate agents that I see regularly, it’s also really great to do a transaction for someone who’s going to be sending their kids to the same school your kids go to.”
Aside from strong relationships in and out of the office, becoming an expert in one local area has been a huge edge up for Martin. While originators can work effectively across multiple states, Martin believes his expertise in Connecticut does come across when speaking with his clients.
“I can estimate closing fees ridiculously close. I know what attorneys and the town clerks charge, and I know what homeowner’s insurance is likely to be, because I’ve done it hundreds of times,” he said.
These relationships that Martin has spent his entire career building also doubles as his largest marketing campaign. While he uses traditional marketing initiatives to help stay top of mind with past clients, Martin says it all comes down to great service, being available and understanding that referral partners don’t always work the average nine-to-five.
“Service, patience and showing your expertise will help build those relationships and those relationships are going to get you more business than any postcard, flyer or email ever will,” he said.
Something that many originators fail to realize is the work that goes into maintaining those relationships. While asking for the business is an important first step, Martin says when you get the business, that’s your time to shine as an originator. Even when there’s nothing in it for you, taking the time to help get a client back on track or answering questions from real estate partners about mortgage are actions that won’t go unnoticed.
The fact that the industry is competitive and there’s a lot of choice is something that Martin has never taken for granted.
“If you help people with their business, they want to help with yours,” he said. “No matter how much success you have, it’s important to be genuine and appreciative.”
It was a banner year for Martin’s team, thanks to a rise in both purchase and refinance business. They closed 2019 with $83 million in volume. While there’s no big overhaul to their strategies planned for this year, his team is constantly working to improve efficiency and adopt little changes along the way. Martin recently hired a new sales assistant to further allow him to delegate non-client tasks. The growing team will help maintain high service levels while being able to accommodate the growth in volume.
“The mortgage industry is no different from any field that is constantly developing. You have to constantly educate yourself or you'll fall behind. Staying on that cutting edge of your product and being the expert at what you do is a never-ending task.”